Recycling of one form or another has been part of the business model for Shuman Plastics Inc. for 75 years.
And recycling is serving the Depew, N.Y.-based firm well in 2022, with strong demand for its materials and plans to develop new grades of its Dyna-Purge-brand purging compounds.
"Recycling in general isn't new," President Ken Shuman said in a recent interview with Plastics News. "If someone has good material and they take good care of it, they can reclaim it or reuse it, or take it back out to the market and monetize it.
"People have been getting value for recyclables forever, but the market reacts to supply and demand, and the market is hot right now," he added.
Shuman Plastics primarily recycles post-industrial polycarbonate, ABS, PC/ABS alloys and polystyrene.
"Our focus is on engineering materials, and demand is strong," Shuman said. "Everyone on the materials side is doing OK. The economy has rebounded from COVID and the market is riding high pricing."
In 1947, Shuman Plastics got its start when brothers Hyman and Charles Shuman established a scrap yard that had grown from the efforts of their father, Philip Shuman. Philip was an Eastern European immigrant with a simple horse and wagon who peddled scrap in Buffalo's urban ethnic neighborhoods, company officials said.
Hy and Charles Shuman then grew the business as a general scrap/recycling company focusing on textiles, paper, glass and metals. By the late 1960s, the firm had evolved into one of the early companies to focus on brokering and recycling plastic scrap and resins.
In 2008, Ken and his brother Dan — Charles' sons — acquired the business. Dan serves as the firm's executive vice president. They've continued the growth and evolution of the company, expanding its efforts to supply compounds and toll processing services as well as virgin, wide-spec and regrind materials, throughout the U.S. and Canada.
2022 also marks the 40th anniversary of the development and introduction of the company's Dyna-Purge brand of purging compounds, one of the first commercial purging compounds to be formulated and sold in North America, and later in over 25 markets worldwide.
Shuman Plastics now employs 40, with about one-third of that number having been with the firm for more than 25 years.
"At some level, we've had a lot of luck and blessings," Ken Shuman said of his family firm's longevity. "We also have a really good family and a good team, and we work together to get things right.
"It's really been a gift," he added. "Our grandfather started it, and we've continued those values and that work ethic. We treat our suppliers and customers the same way."